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Behind Wellmont Health's Search for a Partner

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 22, 2014

We are in an area that does not have the population that is necessary to take on risk. It's common wisdom that you need a minimum of 50,000 lives and many people would say much more than that. We are in a total market area of 400,000 people. So obviously that is going to be very difficult.

HLM: What are Wellmont's selling points?

DeNarvaez: We are market leaders in the areas where we do business by far—a two-to-one preference. We are running very strong facilities both clinically and financially. When it comes to cardiology and oncology, there is nothing shy of transplants that we aren't doing. They will be very surprised at the level of sophistication of the physician community and the caregivers and the technology.

They will be excited when they see the level of sophistication of the board. These are not folks just being fed information from management. They are knowledgeable about the difficulties in healthcare and they also know what they want for the community."

They will be impressed with our senior team. I have been at the CEO level for over 20 years and this is the strongest management team I have ever worked with. It's helped position us in a challenged fiscal market.

Those who have gotten to know us just a little bit are always stunned to see what we have done at the level of reimbursement in this area with the payer mix we have. That may be an area where they would see that we could help them. That is one of the things we hope, too, that it's not a one-way partnership.

We are looking for things, but we will be able to show them how to work in an environment that is very challenging and yet produces the kinds of results we are producing. There will be plenty they will be impressed with.

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